If you are struggling to find and keep customers, then you are usually looking for an edge: an extra push that makes it easier for your staff to close and sustain sales. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can give you the edge you need to boost sales and service.
One solution that can give you an edge is SalesLogix's SalesLogix 3.1, which offers a multifaceted collection of Windows applications for your sales and marketing efforts. These provide native support for major relational databases and a structure that you can easily tailor to the geography and the business model of your company.
If your business needs include a widely distributed sales force with both Web-based and client/server architectures, the ability to easily customise applications for your users, and automatic links to a leading financial package, then SalesLogix can deliver.
The business benefits of CRM are compelling. It's far cheaper to hold onto customers than to find new ones. Thus you need to do a better job of serving those you already have while you look for more. CRM products automate many of the tasks that your sales staff performs to keep close to your customers.
The architecture of SalesLogix allows you to create islands of distributed databases that synchronise automatically with a central company repository for better allocation of the information where it is more frequently used.
Furthermore, using specialised suites, you can easily personalise the product to manage your customers' interactions on the Internet and on your local network, and close the ties with your back-office application by creating your own interface or adopting the ready-to-use integration with financial software from Great Plains.
Thanks to its flexible architecture, a powerful bundle of customisation tools, and a built-in set of applications providing support for sales and marketing, SalesLogix is a product that can capture your attention. However, the possibility of creating decentralised and automatically aligned subsets of company data makes the product more appealing for companies with multiple, autonomously managed locations. In addition, SalesLogix provides a Web-based client that you can safely distribute to third parties, such as resellers and distributors, allowing them to update or query your company archives.
Installing a product as versatile as SalesLogix requires some planning, because there are several components that need to be properly set according to your requirements.
I was able to create SalesLogix's archives on Microsoft or Oracle data-bases; I found detailed instructions in the manual to prepare the database for the installation.
For remote, occasionally connected users, SalesLogix offers the combination of remote clients with their own databases and a synchronisation server. You can provide remote branches with a local database and set the product to automatically synchronise with the main database.
For CRM interactions over the Internet, SalesLogix offers a Web-host component that works with Microsoft or Netscape Web servers, and offers browser-based clients and administration.
SalesLogix offers a dedicated module, the Workgroup Administrator, to manage how your local or remote users will access the system, to set synchronisation rules for remote locations or remote users, and to schedule agents running automated tasks, such as delivering reports, for your users.
User security is based on profiles that dictate access to database tables with field-level granularity and grant or deny access to menu items on the client and to other people's calendar entries. You can assign users to multiple teams and grant specific or team-inherited access rights.
SalesLogix offers an extensive set of windows to enter security data for each user, but using profiles and cloning a new user from a template speeds up the process.
One of the most interesting features of SalesLogix is that it provides a wealth of tools to personalise the product to your needs. For example, using Workgroup Administrator, you can easily add new tables and link them to existing data.
SalesLogix will automatically validate your new data structure and make it available to the data dictionary of the reporting system.
In addition to letting you add data, SalesLogix provides a set of tools to adapt the logic of the product to your needs. Using the SalesLogix Architect component, you can add custom functions to your system that work similarly in concept to plug-ins for Web browsers.
For example, by using SalesLogix plug-ins, you can create workflows such as the steps to validate a lead; automate recursive activities with scripts coded in SQL or Basic; or add or modify reports. Although I consider SalesLogix Architect a development environment and hence suited for technical users, some features, such as creating a workflow, have an easy point-and-click interface that is also suitable for non-technical users.
Thanks to the customisation facilities of Architect, you can make the appearance of the SalesLogix client very busy or very simple, according to the needs of your target user. However, I found even the most complex client setting easy to navigate and understand, thanks to a navigation tree that graphically exposes the data available to the user.
Sales managers have similarly simple access to weighted revenue forecasts based on selected ranges or the full opportunity portfolio. However, for more complete opportunity management, you will need the Advanced Sales SolutionPack, a set of bundles that adds several enhancements to the management of products, opportunities, quotes, sales orders and forecasting.
SalesLogix offers a CRM solution that supports Web interactions as well as traditional clients, can be adapted to your geographically distributed requirements, can be personalised to fit your business requirements, and provides automated links to a major financial package. If these sound like your needs, then this product may be the one for you.
The bottom line ****
Summary: SalesLogix 3.1 offers a comprehensive suite of Windows-based products that manage customer relationships for midrange companies in a client/server environment or via the Internet. SalesLogix shines with its modularity, customisation tools, and scalable architecture.
Business Case: The built-in synchronisation schema makes the product suitable for organisations with multiple, independently managed locations. The lead generation capability of its Web client suits Internet businesses. The product's modularity lets you select only the required components, thus minimising your initial acquisition and implementation costs.
Scalable, multi-tier, multi-location architecturePowerful customisation tools Vendor-supplied integration with Great Plains financial applicationsCons: Does not support marketing campaignsPrice: Server: $5000; Client workgroup remote or Web: $1300 a seat; Web partner client: $800 per user; Advanced Sales Solution Pack: $325.
Platform: Windows; multi-platform database access.
1800 176 193